Dionyssades is complex of small islands, northern to the bay of Sitia, northwestern to Cape Sideros. It is found some 10 nautical miles far from the port of Sitia; the complex is made up of four rocky islets not inhabited: Giannisada, Dragonara, Paximada and Paximadaki.
In antiquity the islets belonged to Itanos. The old tradition in Crete states that Dionyssades was a sacred place dedicated to the worship of the god Dionysus (after whom the complex was named). In fact, traces of ancient dwellings have been detected at Dragonara; there have also been found gravestones going back to the Early Christian period. Dragonara has also an interesting cave, known as “Dragonaras spilios”; as it is the only island with some vegetation, the Municipality of Sitia has planned to established there a park with wild animals and birds as well as hostels for accommodation.
The islets of Paximadi and Paximadaki are interesting for the rare species of birds that nest there. The most important of them is a species of hawks, the “Falco Eleonora", commonly known as “petritis” or “varvaki”. The birds live in couples and risk to disappear. A campaign of saving them has been undertaken lately and today the birds are protected by the Greek law.
Access to the islet is possible only by private or rented yacht.